Albany Med Nurses Authorize Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2020
Contact: Corey Ellis | corey.ellis@nysna.org | 518.526.4844  
Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org | 646.853.4489

Surrounded by labor and community allies on Labor Day, the 2,000 nurses of Albany Med announce strike authorization

Albany, NY- The unions and community of the Capital Region are coming together to celebrate solidarity. This year, unions are joining with community to show what solidarity looks like—holding an event in front of Albany Medical Center to support the NYSNA nurses’ fight for a fair contract.

Albany Med nurses have been in negotiations for a first contract for more than two years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Albany Med has publicly celebrated nurses as heroes, while privately cutting nurses’ hours, staffing, salaries, and input into safety measures at the hospital.

A supermajority of the 2,000 nurses at Albany Medical Center voted to authorize a strike if negotiations with the hospital continue to stall. With the authorization of a strike, nurses could go out on strike in as soon as ten days if an agreement is not reached.

Speakers will demand Albany Med settle a fair contract with its COVID nurse heroes to avoid a strike and before a second COVID surge hits the Capital Region. NYSNA nurses from Ellis and Bellevue Hospitals, who recently settled a contract that sets the labor union standard for the Capital Region, will also speak out in solidarity.

WHO: Union and community members from the Capital District Labor Federation, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) at Albany Medical Center, Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Woman’s Center, Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Citizen Action, Albany County Central Federation of Labor, Citizen Action, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Albany NAACP, Pride@Work, The Solidarity Committee, Working Families Party, Albany Teachers Association/NYSUT,  Assembly Member Carrie Woerner, Assembly Member Phil Steck, Albany City Treasurer Darius Shanfir, and more.

WHAT: Labor Day Picnic and Rally at Albany Medical Center

WHEN: Monday, September 7 from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, **Press conference from 12:00-12:30PM**

WHERE: In front of Albany Medical Center, 43 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY

VISUALS: Masking and social distancing will be strictly observed.

“We voted over two years ago to make our voice heard, and the Administration at Albany Med has done everything it can to stand in our way of having a voice at work,” said Jen Bejo, RN, a nurse leader at Albany Med. “We can no longer wait patiently while our patients suffer and our nurses suffer. We must have a voice. We must have respect. We must have a fair contract. And if we don’t get it, we must strike!”

Capital District Area Labor Federation President Mike Blue said: “The Capital District Area Labor Federation and all of our affiliates, members and families stand 100% behind the NYSNA nurses at Albany Med. On this Labor Day, we say fair contract now”.

“We stand with Albany Med nurses for a fair contract that protects patient safety and respects nurses,” said Bellevue Woman’s Center NYSNA President Jennifer Gunderman, RN. “During the pandemic, Albany Med nurses were leaders in COVID care for the entire Capital region. They should be recognized for their heroism and their contribution to the health of our community.”

Cathy Dawson, RN, a nurse leader at Ellis Hospital, said, “I used to work at Albany Med, so I know firsthand how they have historically treated nurses poorly. As a large academic medical center, they should be setting the standard for nursing care. At Ellis, we just won an amazing contract because we were persistent—we didn’t back down or give up. We know the Albany Med nurses can do the same, and we Ellis nurses are here in solidarity for as long as it takes.”

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.

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